Presence & Purpose

Pairs Well With…a reason for being + loving every day

At the age of six, I wanted to be a firefighter, at nine a writer, twelve a model, fifteen a performer, sixteen an actress and seventeen an entertainment lawyer.  These days, I’m a marketer (gone event planner, gone marketer, gone writer?!?!)

How many of us know what we want to be when we grow up?  In my experience, it seems as though very few of us knew what we were destined to do at an early age, and even less of us knew what we wanted to do once we finally graduated college.  But you know what? You’ve got to start somewhere, take chances on yourself, and figure the rest out at you go along.  I’m still making continuous career bob and weaves; I’m still figuring it out, but happy.

I wonder, are we ever 100% happy and satisfied with where we are in our lives?  

The reason I ask is because I had the opportunity to sit in on an eye-opening seminar titled “Reducing Stress and Finding Greater Purpose” taught by Dr. William Brendel, Assistant Professor at St. Thomas University in Minnesota and specializing in Organization, Learning and Development.  He spoke on the importance of self-reflection, and two key factors that influence your success: presence and purpose.

Presence: Being, existing, or occurring at this time or now; current.

Purpose: The reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

Presence and purpose go hand in hand.  It’s absorbing the here and now with great focus, and knowing precisely why you’re doing so.

When those two are in sync, life is fantastic, but if you’re not present in your work or personal life, you’re probably not serving your purpose. When you’re not present, you’re not committing your full self to your job, family, or friends.  You are on autopilot, a mindless place of going through motions, checking boxes and surfing through the days.  It’s essential to be the driver of your life – not a passenger.

One of the key parts of Brendel’s speech centered around taking this Presence & Purpose Inventory (  I encourage each of you to take this assessment (it’s free) and see where you land on the Presence vs. Purpose scale. Your categorization shows how you can make improvements to maximize your day-to-day happiness through the provided mindfulness practices.

There are four key Ways of Being:

  • Yearning – those preoccupied with their larger purpose in life. May experience a deep desire to develop a greater sense of purpose at work and are likely to be interested in practicing ways to determine what that is.
  • Habituating – those finding themselves automatically privileging everyday tasks and aspects of organizational life (emails and office politics for example). May also find it easy and preferable to define and focus on tangible problems, rather than investigating the deeper premises that frame these problems.
  • Transforming – those fully aware of their everyday assumptions. May also be better at identifying their own thought patterns (aka streams of consciousness) for critical reflection, dialogue, and continuous change
  • Transcending – those substantially aware of their greater sense of purpose in life and work. May be said to view the ‘self’ as an ocean of consciousness that in all situations can show up as one’s best self.


The better you know yourself, the smarter the decisions you can make to lead you to a more fulfilled life.  Taking time for self-reflection is so important to do.  I don’t know if we ever fully “figure it out,” but moving in the right direction will radiate in your demeanor, attitude, and energy.

Are you where you want to be in life?

At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we want to be fulfilled, feel meaning and serve a purpose.  Consider where you are and where you want to be. Everyone has the chance to be happy; you just need to take that chance.


Study Credit: Dr. William Brendel





9 Responses to “Presence & Purpose”

  1. Kathryn Grace

    I’m struck by that fourth way of being, transcending, and viewing “the ‘self’ as an ocean of consciousness that in all situations can show up as one’s best self.” That strikes me as what many of us seem to feel as we enter our crone (or whatever the word might be for the gents) years.

    For me, although I’m fortunate to have a great deal of freedom in how I use my time and energy, I still have plenty of learning and growing to do, so no, I’m not totally satisfied, and that’s probably a good thing. I am content in many ways though, and grateful for that peace at this stage of life.

    • Pairs Well With...

      Thank you for sharing! I also found that piece interesting. I believe that regardless of what stage you find yourself in life, there should always be a good deal of learning and growing. As I move through different phases of my life, I’m now much more conscious and appreciative of each phase than I used to be, embracing what comes and finding happiness throughout. Thank you for the perspective.

  2. Kathy

    I was chatting with a wise woman yesterday and she told me her only two regrets were not staying home with her two girls when they were little. She said she couldn’t because she was a single mom. But then she said she can never get those years back and it was such a blip in time. And could she REALLY not do it or did she just not think hard enough about a way to make it happen? People get caught up – aka passengers/bystanders in their own lives. But you only get one. And you can’t rewind time.

    • Pairs Well With...

      Well said. I believe as we grow older and wiser, we begin to place more importance on time versus money, or even career. Time is such a precious thing and we need to do the things that make and keep us happy so we aren’t living with regret. I’m an advocate for making a change, even if not immediate or easy. If there’s a will, there’s a way.


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